The details of the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand are out and there is some justifiable outrage from the South Island.
For the first time since tours of New Zealand started in 1903 one venue has more than one test. For the first time since the Lions started touring New Zealand all tests are in the North Island. In a ten match tour the South Island gets two games; six of the ten are from Rotorua north.
Lions tours are popular because, unlike the vast majority of modern sport, they are not over exposed. They now tour here once every 12 years. The last time they were here we saw the best and worst of All Black rugby, but what really made that winter was the 20,000 travelling fans. And there lies the issue.
These fans are wealthy, and are not shy of spraying that wealth around. Wait for the ticket prices to be announced, and that will produce the next wave of disquiet, but that will not worry the Sterling carrying visitors. And when you have touring fans in those numbers you need to find the biggest stadiums you can.
The best on offer in the South Island, Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, as fantastic a venue that it is, can only hold around 28,000 at a pinch. With visitor numbers at that level it is simply supply and demand; you would leave a lot of very disappointed home and travelling fans. It is the brutal truth that post Lancaster Park South Island is unable to host a Lions test.
Then there is the small matter of the windfall that an extra 35,000 tickets will bring. It has nothing to do with accommodation issues in Dunedin; the travelling fans prefer to use camper vans anyway.
What could have been avoided however is the northern bias of the tour as a whole and the lack of geographical variance; including consecutive matches in Wellington.
If the opening match had been scheduled in Nelson, and the NZ Maoris match moved from Rotorua to Napier then the tour would have had a much more traditional tour, without losing anything at the gate and without alienating provincial New Zealand not within a two hour drive of Auckland.
Footnote: Twisting the knife is the allocation of the Springbok test in the same year to Albany. The joke of allocating matches involving South Africans to the North Shor is getting stale. It might be thought of fondly in Serbia, but it is a dire soulless pit that is hard to get to. But it does bring the number of big matches in Greater Auckland in 2017 to four.